Fire Ecology

fire ecology

Nomad’s fire science team is at the forefront of scientific research and monitoring evaluating the effects of fire on wildland ecosystems in Northern and Central California.

As California wildfires increase in scale and intensity due to prolonged drought and climate change, there is a critical need for fire ecology studies that inform landscape management strategies to protect public safety and species conservation.

Post-Fire Plant Diversity and Succession after the 2013 Morgan Fire

The Nomad study of the vegetation response to the 2013 Morgan Fire in Mt. Diablo State Park was the first post-fire research conducted in Northern California chaparral ecosystems since 1944. The study focused on a suite of annual or short-lived perennial species that benefit from, or rely on, fire as a part of their life cycle. Documentation of this post-fire flora and the sensitive species that are part of this fleeting diversity and abundance is essential to understanding the full range of natural resources associated with chaparral ecosystems, and thus key to developing conservation goals. The rapid assessment method we developed for this study now serves as a foundation for documenting post-fire (prescribed or natural) assemblages and ecological dynamics statewide.

Following the North Bay firestorms in 2015 and 2017, Nomad applied their experience from the Morgan Fire to conduct post-fire vegetation monitoring on BLM lands in the Jerusalem Fire zone in Lake County, and at Pepperwood Preserve, a sentinel research site for fire ecology and climate change in Santa Rosa, which was 90% burned in the Tubbs Fire.

Since 2014 Nomad staff, led by Principal Botanist Heath Bartosh, has been conducting post-fire monitoring and research for a variety of clients. For more information on Nomad’s Floristic Monitoring and Research of Post-Fire Chaparral in the Coast Ranges of California can be found here.

post-planting at Morgan fire

California Native Plant Society Fire Recovery Guide cover

Fire Recovery Strategies

To provide practical assistance to land managers, Mr. Bartosh also contributed their expertise in fire science to the development of the California Native Plant Society Fire Recovery Guide.

Nomad’s wildlife biologists have a breath of species experience in the San Francisco Bay Area. This expertise is also supported though academic study on some of California’s most imperiled species.